Built in the 1960s and early 1970s, the estate’s five towers – the last remaining high-rises in Blackpool – had been described as a “grim monument to Britain’s failed post-war experiment in social housing”. The towers were interspersed with 12 maisonette blocks from the same era and together they dwarfed the more traditional homes which surrounded them.
The ageing blocks were damp, inefficient and expensive to heat, with a reputation for social problems due in part to their lack of family housing. Many of the 500 flats were one-bedroom homes which no longer met the area’s needs and suffered from low demand and a high turnover of residents as a result.
The council appointed Lovell in 2013 to revitalise this rundown estate and create a safer, more family-friendly neighbourhood for the long term, which would also address Queens Park’s issues of anti-social behaviour.
We were chosen following a lengthy three stage tender process, based on our strong track record in estate regeneration and our collaborative approach to working with local authorities.
We created a bespoke design that responded to their brief, developing it following feedback from the council and our deeper understanding of their requirements.
The Queen’s Park Residents’ Project Group, which formed part of the evaluation team, were invited on a site tour of The Way at Beswick. They were impressed with what we had created there and as a result were happy to support our bid.
To achieve the council’s vision for the estate, they needed some of the new properties to be able to convert from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom homes, allowing them to house existing residents in the short term while still meeting longer-term housing needs. Our carefully considered designs allowed the homes to be easily converted, future-proofing them at a cost of less than £5,000 each.
Despite the tower’s numerous problems, they were home to hundreds of residents – many of whom had a strong sense of loyalty to their community. Existing council tenants were given the opportunity to move into the new homes and we invited them to a drop-in event where they could share their hopes for the future of Queens Park.